Did you know there are lakes within the oceans?
The photo above shows a rippled lake, lapping against a sandy shore, surrounded by salty deposits and eroded coral formations. What might NOT be readily apparent is that this lake is underwater.
Off of the coast of the Yucatán peninsula, in the Gulf of Mexico, there exist a number of undersea brine lakes. Way back in the Jurassic, the Gulf of Mexico was a shallow, mineral-rich sea. For a time, it was cut off from the ocean and dried up, leaving loads of salt deposits behind. Many years later, as the ocean reformed and the geography continued to evolve, we were left with the Gulf that we see today.
Some of those salt deposits remained buried, a valuable commodity to be later mined by us humans. One particular salt dome along the Gulf, Avery Island, is the tasty origin of Louisiana’s famous Tabasco sauce!
But much of that salt remains buried deep under ocean sediments. When it is exposed, super-salty brines are formed, far saltier than seawater. And just like the deadly brinicles that send starfish scurrying for their lives beneath the Antarctic ice, these super-concentrated salty pools are denser and heavier than the seawater around them. So they “sink”, forming lakes within the ocean devoid of all but microbial life, slowly lapping salty waves onto the ocean shore around them.
Check out more at Ocean Explorer.